Geneve: The Best Trader Joe’s Snacks for College Students

Before I moved to Boston for college, I didn’t get the hype about Trader Joe’s. Back home, it was the “expensive grocery store that was overhyped.” This summer, I lived in my first apartment and needed to grocery stop on my own for the first time. Then, I understood the hype about T.J.’s. I haven’t looked back since.

First of all, the stereotype that it’s an expensive grocery store is completely false. In fact, Trader Joe’s is probably the cheapest grocery store in the city. I used to do all my grocery shopping at Target, and I would almost always rack up a bill of $50-$60 a week. Star Market is absolutely unquestionably more expensive than Target. Most of the time, I can walk out of Trader Joe’s spending $25-$40, depending on what I get. That’s a steal.

I’ve compiled below some of my favorite things to get that are on my list almost every week. The next time you’re bored of the snacks you always opt for, give these a try!

Mini Vegetable Samosas + Dipping Sauce

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These vegetable samosas are crispy little triangles filled with a mixture of lentils, peas, potatoes, onions, and Indian spices. They heat up quickly in the microwave and are just the perfect combination of crispy and soft.

For the dipping sauce, mix equal parts almond butter, soy sauce, and honey. At first, this combination sounds interesting. But believe me, it is one of the greatest things you will ever taste. All of my friends and suite mates would agree. It’s slightly thick, nutty, sweet, and salty, all at once. Of course, if you like one particular ingredient more, you can always adjust portions to taste.

Pumpernickel Pretzel Sticks + Pub Cheese

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This combination was actually first introduced to me by COM advisor Bryan (he trained us orientation leaders this summer and always brought us bags full of snacks from Trader Joe’s every meeting). I always got to take extras of this combo home so obviously, it grew on me. The combination of the tastes of these two are just perfect.

Tatte-inspired Ricotta and Jam Toast

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I actually have to give my friend Sam full credits for this one. She runs an Instagram page, @EZDormCookin. She buys the San Francisco sourdough bread and spreads whole milk ricotta cheese and strawberry preserves on top. I love having this in the morning for breakfast because it’s just the perfect mix of sweet and salty and gives me enough nutrients to last till lunch!

These are just a few of my favorite food finds at Trader Joe’s! I highly recommend a trip down to the T.J.’s at Coolidge Corner and a good stroll through all the aisles. You might find your next favorite snack, or a few!

Geneve: Why Everyone Needs a Letter Board in Their Life

I bought my letter board from Primark this past spring, on one of those shopping trips where you aren’t really looking for anything in particular but something catches your eye, it’s under $10, so you know you HAVE to get it.

I’ll be honest with you, I might have only bought it because it was extremely popular on Pinterest and Instagram, and I wanted to add it to my collection of “aesthetically trendy room decor things” that I adorned my living space with.

I’ve always loved hanging up inspirational quotes in my room, so this was like another excuse to do that, but I could change the quotes all the time.

It wasn’t until this summer that I realized why a letter board was such a crucial piece that every college student absolutely needs. And, here’s why.

You know when your best friend tries to tell you something that can just never get through to your head? Like “It doesn’t matters what others are doing, it matters what you are doing.” Or, maybe even something simpler, like “You got this.” Well, a letter board might actually make these quotes stick better, and you might start to believe the motivational quote it tells you.

When you’re spending no less than fifteen minutes tearing out tiny letters to arrange onto a letter board, counting out the rows to make sure it’s centered, and sometimes adding playful touches to make the words slanted or dome shaped, you’re actually in the process of letting these words engrain themselves in your head.

Have I convinced you yet? The board I use isn’t being sold at Primark anymore, but here are five options for you if you’re ready to get your own!

  1. Forever 21 White Letter Board | $9.90– It comes in black, too! And for under $10? SCORE.
  2. Amazon Black 10 x 10 Felt Letter Board | $12.95– If you’re lazy and don’t want to head to the store, get this one shipped to you for free via Amazon Prime!
  3. Amazon Black 10 x 10 Felt Letter Board w/ Gold Letters | $14.95– Get one with gold letters for only $2 more!
  4. Amazon Black 12 x 16 Felt Letter Board | $16.79– A rectangular board is good if you know you’ll be making longer quotes and phrases.
  5. Amazon Maroon 10 x 10 Felt Letter Board | $15.93– Get one in your favorite color for a nice pop!

Share your pictures of your new letter board decor with me over on Instagram at @genevelau! I hope that I’ve convinced you all to get one now. What better time than now, at the start of the new school year, to add a new piece of decor to your space!

Geneve: Five Instagrammable Spots in Boston

One of the best parts about living in a city like Boston is all of the beautiful spots perfect for photographing! Here are 5 spots in bean town that you are sure to love and likely to make it on your next Instagram post.

1. Piers Park | 95 Marginal St, Boston, MA 02128

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How to get there:

Take a Green Line train Inbound from Kenmore (C or D) to Government Center (6 stops)

At Government Center, change to the Blue Line (Wonderland) (3 stops)

Get off at Maverick stop

Walk to Piers Park, head southeast until you find Marginal Street

Piers Park was actually one of the first places I visited on my own without my parents since I got to BU! My friend Jack looked it up online before and really wanted to check it out so we did the first Saturday. It was a ton of fun, and you can get some really great photos with the city skyline in the background.

2. Acorn Street | Acorn St, Boston, MA 02108

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How to get there:

Take a Green Line train Inbound to Boylston

Walk across the Boston Common (Away from Tremont, along Charles, towards Beacon)

Find Spruce Street after crossing Beacon Street

Turn left on Chestnut Street

Turn right on Willow Street

Turn left on Acorn Street

Acorn Street currently holds the title of “Most Photographed Street in America”. It is a stop on every Boston tour, so you’ll always see handfuls of tourists passing by, as well as senior portrait photographers and wedding photographers doing shoots. Getting the perfect photo can be hard sometimes with so many frequenters but you just have to be smart about your angle and timing!

3. Berkshire Bank Sign @ Government Center

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Photo from Twitter

How to get there:

Take a Green Line train Inbound to Park Street

At Park Street, change to any train to take you one further stop to Government Center

Although not always up, these huge letters spelling Boston are a great way for you to show your Boston pride! If you happen to see the letters while you’re in the area, stop for a pic! They’re not always up. However, over the winter they put up a gorgeous skating rink, so if that’s more your style, all power to you!

4. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum |  25 Evans Way, Boston, MA 02115

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How to get there:

Although accessible via the T, it takes way longer than walking

Turn away from the Charles on St. Mary’s Street

Turn left onto Mountfort Street

Follow Park Drive (slight right, and then slight left)

Turn right onto Brookline Avenue

Turn left onto Fenway

Turn right onto Evans Way

An absolutely picturesque gem, the Gardner Museum is not only free for BU students, but a great spot to enjoy both nature and art. Fun fact- the largest art theft in history is still an ongoing investigation for the 13 art pieces, worth up to $500 million, stolen from the Gardner museum in 1990. As part of Isabella Stewart Gardner’s will, none of the paintings in the museum can be replaced, so take a look into the different rooms–you’ll notice there are empty frames awaiting the stolen paintings’ return home!

5. The Boston University Bridge | Boston, MA 02215

 

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How to get there:

Heading westward on Commonwealth Avenue, take a right when you hit the bridge. You’ll pass the GSU and the Boston University Academy

Unexpected, but the BU bridge actually gives you this great overall view of the skyline of Boston! On a sunny day, you can get an amazing photo with the buildings in the background. Plus, it’s so close to campus, you barely have to travel to get there!

Geneve: 5 Signs You’re a True Bostonian

I feel like I can adequately call myself a “city girl now” I’ll be honest; when I first moved to Boston from my hometown of Boise, Idaho (which is tiny, mind you), I had no idea if I would adjust to the city life. I definitely had a bit of culture shock initially. But, as my first semester unfolded, I checked off places on my “Places to See” list, I slowly gained the Bostonian status. Here are 5 signs that you have, too. 

  1. You no longer have to check the T maps to know what stop is next on the Green Line Inbound.  

Kenmore, Hynes, Copley, Arlington, Boylston, then Park Street. After you take the T enough times, you’ll start to know exactly what stop you’re getting off at and not have to consistently stand next to the map or check the LED sign religiously. An extra bonus: you can give people directions if they look lost! (Also, @MBTA, when are you going to fix the fact that you can’t change directions at Copley and have to go all the way to Arlington?)

Next stop: Boylston. No smoking, please. 

2)   City Target becomes more impractical than fun. 

Now, no hate, because the City Target is the bomb.com, but it’s the worst feeling when you realize you forgot to grab something on the third floor and are heading to the checkout on the second floor. Tip: section off your shopping list by floor so you don’t have to go back to the third floor a second time!

Moment of appreciation for the beautiful lights and luxurious apartment buildings on the way from the BU Campus to Target, though. 

3)   Jaywalking at Kenmore Square does not phase you.

Crossing the street when the light is actually green? What’s that? Besides mumbling “hit me, I dare you” under your breath half-jokingly, you’ll start to realize that it’s completely irrational to wait to cross because there can either be so much traffic that it is standstill, or no cars at all. 

STILL LOOK BEFORE YOU CROSS THOUGH. Both ways, twice! Safety is #1. 

4)   You begin to venture outside of the city during the weekend.

Obviously, living in Boston is amazing. But eventually, you’ll branch out and explore places outside of Boston– in close proximity like Cambridge or Somerville, and a bit further, like Salem or the Cape. And lucky for us, MBTA offer direct transportation to places like Newburyport and Salem, so there’s almost no excuse to get out of the immediate Boston area. 

Make sure you book bus or train tickets in advance if you are planning on going somewhere during three day weekends! Prices may skyrocket. 

5)     You never leave for the day without packing an umbrella or rain jacket. 

Boston can always be unexpectedly hit with downpours, and you don’t want to be left unprepared and drenched on your walk from class to class. Rain jackets are awesome if you don’t want the bulk of an umbrella and take up barely any space in your bag when folded up. However, if you want more full coverage from the rain without wearing a hood, an umbrella is your best option! Lots of stores sell smaller, compact umbrellas perfect for college students!

So, do you think you’ve met the criteria for being a true Bostonian? 

If so, congrats! And hey, if not quite yet, no worries. You still got a few years to go, so what’s the rush?